Bob Good, the Republican candidate for Virginia’s 5th District congressional seat, has declined to participate in the first scheduled debate, according to his opponent.
In a news release Friday, Democratic candidate Dr. Cameron Webb said that Good had declined to participate in a debate hosted by Piedmont Virginia Community College and CBS19.
Good and Webb are running against each other for the seat currently held by Rep. Denver Riggleman, who lost the Republican nomination to Good during a contentious Republican convention in June.
In the release, Webb accuses Good of avoiding voters and trying to “hide his radical and out of touch policy views.”
“As candidates to represent the people of Virginia’s 5th district, we owe them the opportunity to hear from us directly. A political strategy rooted in avoiding voters demonstrates a lack of accountability that we need less of in Washington, not more” Webb wrote. “I hope Bob Good reconsiders, but regardless of his decision, I look forward to taking every opportunity to engage with the Virginians in our district about the issues that matter most.”
The Good campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment or clarification.
Dan Schutte, a news director and anchor at CBS19, confirmed that Good declined to participate and said the candidate did not specify why.
The debate was scheduled for October and Schutte said he is yet to decide whether the debate or a similar, town hall event will happen.
"We’ve hosted these debates for the 5th district race in the past, and we’ve found them to be very helpful in giving voters a chance to learn about the people running to represent them," Schutte said. "Given all the challenges of COVID-19 and the impact on traditional campaigning we thought this year hosting a debate would be especially important."
Schutte said it is disappointing that the Good campaign declined the invitation to participate, but is hopeful that CBS19 will be able to put something else together to help voters learn more about the two candidates.